Freedom House Commends Appointment of UN Special Rapporteur to Monitor Rights Situation in Belarus
The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) today voted in favor of appointing a special rapporteur to monitor the human rights situation in Belarus. Freedom House remains deeply concerned about ongoing, egregious human rights violations in Belarus and welcomes this action by the UNHRC.
The resolution, tabled by Cyprus on behalf of the European Union, passed with 22 votes in favor, 20 abstentions, and only 5 votes against, including Russia, China, and Cuba. It expressed concern with systematic rights violations occurring in Belarus since December 19, 2010, including restrictions on freedom of association, assembly and expression, and mandated the appointment of a special rapporteur to monitor and investigate the human rights situation in Belarus. The special rapporteur will offer support to civil society, examine information from stakeholders pertaining to the human rights situation and assist the Belarusian government in fulfilling its human rights obligations.
“Belarus has long been identified by Freedom House as one of the world’s worst human rights abusers,” said Robert Herman, vice president for regional programs at Freedom House. “We commend the Human Rights Council for taking this critical action and urge Belarus to provide the special rapporteur with necessary access and cooperation to fulfill his or her mandate. This would be a first positive step towards bringing an end to these violations.”
Despite the growing threat of economic collapse and sanctions against Belarus by the United States and the European Union, Lukashenka has continued to crack down on members of the opposition, civil society and journalists, a number of who have been sentenced to lengthy prison terms or have fled the country. The government continues to prevent public dissent by holding scores of political prisoners and adopting a series of unusual policies to prevent public protest, including outlawing public clapping in unison and silent protests.
Belarus is ranked Not Free in Freedom in the World 2012, Freedom House's survey of political rights and civil liberties, and Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2012 and Freedom on the Net 2011.
For more information, visit:
Freedom in the World 2012: Belarus
Worst of the Worst 2012: Belarus
Freedom of the Press 2011: Belarus
Freedom on the Net 2011: Belarus
Blog: Do’s and Don’ts on Belarus
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.
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